COLUMBUS, Miss. – The University Research Center (URC) has selected Dr. Cecilia Brooks to present virtually at the 5th Annual Advancing Mississippi Conference Friday, Sept. 25.

“As college students, some young adults do not have a steady source of income and some traditional banking services may not be available to adequately meet a financial emergency. My presentation explores the use of alternative financial services among Mississippi college students and its role in financial well-being,” said Brooks.

According to Brooks, visiting assistant professor of family studies at Mississippi University for Women, Mississippi ranks second in the number of pawnshops who also engage in title lending services in the country. Some students use a pawn shop or payday loan service provider to obtain funds. These services can meet the short-term financial needs of college students, even when traditional banking services are available, but can have negative long-term impacts.

Brooks explained, “A lack of awareness or understanding of the long-term costs associated with alternative financial services can negatively impact the financial well-being of young adults in Mississippi. By supplementing traditional banking services with alternative financial services, some college students may be delaying their ability to build a good credit history that can help them achieve their financial goals. That is why collegiate financial education programs are important for the well-being of students.”

During the spring of 2020, Brooks’ Family Science 465: Program planning and evaluation students developed an online financial education module that was implemented through a Canvas module. Students in the class gained first-hand experience in developing and executing a financial education program, and they, along with the participants gained financial knowledge after participating in the program.

“While most college students in Mississippi have some form of financial education in the home or in school, everyone can benefit from a greater understanding of personal finances,” said Brooks.  

Each year, the URC invites researchers from the state to contribute papers that address long-term challenges facing the state. The goal of the conference is to uncover productive ways to overcome challenges and foster growth in Mississippi, while creating better economic conditions for all Mississippians.

The URC conducts applied unbiased research on a variety of state and local issues including revenue estimation, economic impact analysis, socio-economic policy analysis, tax analysis and economic forecasting for the State of Mississippi.

Additional topics for the conference include aging, the impact of COVID-19 on business and mental health, workforce development and health.

This year, the conference will be conducted via Zoom. Students who wish to attend the free virtual conference should enroll using the URL:

Brooks holds doctorate and master degrees from Mississippi State University. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona. Brooks is certified in financial wellness and education by the Higher Education Financial Wellness Alliance.


Sept. 23, 2020
Contact: Tyler Wheat
(662) 241-7683
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